The Ramón Areces Foundation finances renewable ammonia project

The AMORE project aims at ammonia electrosynthesis using air, water, and renewable electricity

April 10, 2023

ICFO Prof F. Pelayo García de Arquer, leader of the CO2 Mitigation Accelerated by Photons research group, has been awarded a grant from the Ramón Areces Foundation’s XXI National Competition for the award of Grants for Research in Life and Material Sciences for the project AMORE (Renewable Ammonium as an energy vector/ AMOniaco Renovable como vector Energético).

The race against global warming requires a transition towards renewable energy, sustainable resources, and circular economies. The development of solar fuels using renewable energy, which combined a high energy density and reduced costs (considering their generation, transport, and storage) represents an alternative to displace fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The AMORE project focuses on the development of catalysts and systems that enable the direct electrosynthesis of green ammonia using air, water, and renewable electricity (eNRR). As an energy vector, ammonia offers several advantages compared to hydrogen in terms of ease and cost of transport and storage, as well as a higher energy density. As a chemical vector, the green electrosynthesis of ammonia has the prospect of displacing incumbent highly energy- and carbon-intensive processes for the generation of fertilizers, which rely on natural gas and the Haber-Bosch reaction; contributing to a large fraction of global greenhouse gas emissions. AMORE pursues these challenges through advances in the fundamental understanding of the processes involved in the eNRR. The CO2 Mitigation Accelerated by Photons  group will deploy in situ spectroscopies to guide in the design of nano/micro-structured catalysts that, based on metal and polymer composites, achieve improved the performance of the eNRR towards its technoeconomic viability.

Prof García de Arquer leads a research group at ICFO that explores the use of photons to shed light on the process of capturing and converting greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, helping understand the various mechanisms involved.  “This grant is a highly welcome support for our young group to carry out an ambitious project that will allow us to grow and make a mark in our field,” he explains.  “We are proud to partner with The Ramón Areces Foundation that has prioritized climate change and renewable energy as a key research area that warrants their support. This will help to strengthen ICFO’s  growing Clean Planet Program.”

The Ramón Areces Foundation is a private foundation created with the broad objective of fostering scientific and technical research in Spain and education and culture in general. In short, the Foundation´s main objective is to create a solid scientific and technological structure in Spain in order to improve people´s lives and find solutions to the challenges that the modern society have to face, especially in the dimensions of science, education, culture and economics.